UEFA have announced that Champions League knockout matches affected by travel restrictions could be played all at once on neutral venues.
One of the games that could be moved is Liverpool’s meeting with RB Leipzig. Germany recently imposed a ban on all inbound flights from the UK until February 17, with the match currently scheduled a day before the rules are lifted.
In the past, elite sports teams have been granted exemptions, but according to The Times, it seems unlikely that the German government will do so on this occasion. As a result, Liverpool are currently in discussions with the Bundesliga and UEFA over a solution.
One possible avenue under study is to change the home-to-exterior routes, as the UK government has no such ban on inbound flights from Germany. Liverpool have voiced their opposition to this as it would see them lose the home advantage they gained by moving ahead of their group. As a result, moving the game to a neutral venue – as UEFA did for the finals of last year’s competition – seems more plausible.
UEFA issued the following statement on Tuesday regarding the match: “UEFA is in contact with the respective clubs and the German Football Association, which in turn are in contact with the German government.”
Rule K.1.8 of the Champions League regulations states that: “[Europe’s governing body] has the right to allocate another venue for a particular match or even to decide that one or both ends of the round concerned [should] be postponed and / or played in a neutral country (on the territory of a UEFA member association) and / or organized in a single step. “
Arsenal’s Europa League game between Arsenal and Benfica is also at risk of being moved due to UK restrictions on travel from Portugal. Current rules would require the Gunners to self-isolate for ten days upon their return from the first leg, while their opposition would not be allowed to enter the country for the second leg.